From the bombing of New York City subway system in the 1970s to its entrance in galleries, museums and auction houses, graffiti has been able over the years to clear a path to places that, at first glance, seemed unreachable.
This gradual recognition of a new art form, often perceived as illegitimate and confined to vandalism, does not occur without confrontation and resistance. In effect, the emergence of new art movements can result in a struggle for the overthrow of the categories of perception and appreciation in force in the art world. By entering the contemporary art field, graffiti artists like JonOne, Tilt, MadC and Thierry Furger introduce new artistic possibilities that engender a double aesthetic transgression.
A first rupture is produced as these artists deliberately choose to not be compelled and restrained to follow the traditional and sometimes restrictive graffiti codes. The expansion from a solely ephemeral production in the streets to a diverse range of medium embracing new artistic path is illustrative of this change. A second distinction is realized with the disrupting of the esthetic order in the art world. Whether it is the dripping tags from JonOne, the bubble letters from Tilt, the abstract calligraphy from MadC or the buffed painting from Thierry Furger, the heritage of years of practice in the streets is transposed into fine art works that ambition to establish graffiti as a legitimate artistic aesthetic.
“Who’s defining the rules of what is legitimate graffiti and fine art now?
Who’s your Daddy?”
Kolly Gallery, 2014
With this first installment of a series of international exhibitions we proudly present the works of artists that follow this double perspective of pushing the limits of graffiti and installing this art movement in the contemporary art field. The pieces created for this occasion are provocatively nourished by a message addressed to both of these worlds:
Who is defining the rules of what is legitimate graffiti and fine art?